What can be said about what has happened in Haiti? Some of the words that come to mind are ‘tragic, awful, incomprehensible, too terrible to believe.’
Mostly, I find myself in a mute heaviness thinking about it, and viewing the news articles. I know that the pictures aren’t conveying the whole spectrum of devastation, and that what we see is minor compared to what has really happened.
I can’t think of what it might be like. Days of grief, rotting bodies, debilitating thirst and dehydration, starvation, sun baking, fear, desperation.
When we worked with Mercy Ships, we were in the Dominican Republic in Barahona and in Santa Domingo. Barahona was impoverished. Not enough medical or dental care, not enough fresh water or sanitation systems, but affluent compared to Haiti.
I remember the orange haired, malnourished, cleft lip and palate children, and the people queing up at our medical clinics, desperate, scrapping for a place in line. We were able to provide something their government couldn’t. It took iron gates and guards to control the crowds at our medical and dental clinics both.
And this was during a time of calm.
I can only imagine what it might be like now, in Haiti.
I can remember the stench of the market place in Barahona, the strength of the heat baking my brain as I walked into town, and the hands reaching out to beg as I, a white woman from ‘the ship’, rode the local transport, a motorcycle through town. I know the feel of humidity that drains a body and causes it to dehydrate in a short period of time, causing cramps in the legs, fuzziness in the brain, and the idea that I’d do anything to quench my thirst.
I can only imagine how it is in Haiti, now.